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This International Women’s Day is like no other I’ve ever experienced. My mind turns constantly to the women in Ukraine and in Russia who are being impacted by a war they had no part in constructing. In both Ukraine and Russia, IWD is different than it is in most western countries. The day commemorates women’s fight for worker’s rights and peace, but it also importantly is a day of expressing deep respect for women everywhere.

When I think about this year’s IWD theme: #breakthebias, I am reminded of the solidarity that comes when women come together to work for a common goal. I had the opportunity to launch my first Women’s ERG group on IWD 2020 just before London went into our first lockdown. That group was a consistent source of inspiration and teamwork for me over the next few years.

As the Head of Sales at CIM, I work in both sales and tech; two areas in which women are the minority. In tech sales, women make up only 25 percent of salespeople and only 12 percent of sales leadership. Likewise in engineering, women make up only 12 percent of the UK’s engineering pool. This can cause women who do work in these areas feel lonely and isolated – as if they are the only ones who have cracked the code to success.

What I have developed out of my experience of working in solidarity with women and those who strive for DEI initiatives within tech is a skill for identifying organisations where every employee comes together with a common DEI goal. Ensuring that I would have this feeling of solidarity at CIM was important to me.

CIM has sustainability at its heart. Working with clients in the Real Estate Investment Sector and in High Tech Manufacturing, CIM powers resource-efficient and environmentally responsible buildings by providing data-driven insights to maximise operational efficiency and rapidly reduce energy consumption across building portfolios. Peak performing buildings with smaller carbon footprints achieve better sustainability ratings, meet their environmental, social and governance goals, and deliver long-term value to shareholders and tenants.

I was curious about the link between sustainability and DEI at CIM. David Walsh is our CEO and Founder. During our first interview, I asked him about DEI. What was clear to me during that open and transparent conversation was that David did not see gender equality as a side effort, but as integral to company culture where curiosity, integrity and respect for all are core to our culture. For David, inclusivity is not a buzz word. He has a genuine belief that diverse perspectives are key to fantastic results.

Top level leaders – men and women – who come to the table adept at speaking and acting against gender bias send signals throughout a company that every employee has a responsibility to challenge bias in all its forms. They consider thought leaders in the DEI space like me to be an asset to the company and encourage open questions and transparency around gender bias. They allow us to create that feeling of solidarity and respect that I knew I was looking for.

Asking about DEI in that first interview paid off. CIM has a culture of inclusivity where respect, work life balance, health – both mental and physical – are taken seriously. I find myself fitting right in and working to build a fantastic go-to-market organisation with colleagues who know that diverse ideas breed extraordinary results.

Each year on IWD, I ask myself what challenge I will set myself to promote gender equality.

This year, working in a new company and in a new sector, I challenge myself to be vocal about the solidarity of coming together to work for equality. More-so, I challenge myself to place working towards peace at the heart of that effort.

You can support Ukraine by donating to these organisations.

At CIM, we are inspired by diversity and driven by inclusion. It matters to us that each of our colleagues comes to work every day with curiosity, drive and a sense of purpose. We are a forward-thinking culture that fosters non-negotiable qualities—like respect, integrity and trust. Every day we welcome all perspectives, strengths, skills, creeds and genders because we know that diverse ideas breed extraordinary results.